Kauri Runners Growing Coromandel

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Thu 17/Nov/11 9:37pm

Almost 300 runners will line up for this weekend's Great Cranleigh Kauri Run, but they happily take second billing to one of New Zealand's most innovative event concepts.

When entrants line up on Saturday for the Coromandel’s Great Cranleigh Kauri Run, they’ll be meeting more than just personal goals. Their very presence on the 32km trail from Waikawau Beach over the Coromandel Peninsula’s Central Divide to Coromandel Township will leave a positive impact on the regions famous forests. For every competitor who lines up, this event quite literally plants a new Kauri tree.

In eight years this unique event has planted almost 2000 Kauri seedlings. This weekend the Kauri population will increase by around 300 more entrants and trees. Organised by Coromandel residents, Andy Reid and Keith Stephenson, the success revolves around a simple ethos of providing a great race in a great place. But in the Great Cranleigh Kauri Run they also have a great cause.

It’s this aspect that attracted major sponsor, Cranleigh merchant banking. Cranleigh do a lot of work in the clean renewable energy sector and thought the Kauri Run would be a perfect fit with their company outlook. The event is certainly a good fit with endurance junkies, because in just eight years it has become one of the North Island’s favourite trail running events.

Starting on the rugged Pacific Coast the Kauri Run traverses the Coromandel ranges to finish on the Hauraki Gulf. Along the way competitors experience 32km of native bush, stream crossing and over 800 vertical metres of climbing. And much of the course is on private land, which means competitors get to see parts of the Coromandel not typically open to the public.

Course records for this scenic but savage challenge belong to Galatea’s Sjors Corporaal (2:25.35, 2009) and Australian Hanny Allston (2:42.11, 2008). Favourites for 2011 include 2010 runner up Vajin Armstrong from Christchurch and Chris Morrissey from Whakatane. Morrissey has finished both second and third at the Kauri Run, so will be looking to complete the set.

Auckland’s Ruby Muir, however, will be looking simply to finish the race. The 20 year was a surprise winner of the 2010 Kauri Run, but has battled injury in recent months and knows that to win again she must first finish the race.

Others that will be happy to simply finish will include the 27 starters in the Kauri Run’s new ultra-distance option, a 70k run from the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula down to Coromandel Township. Organisers hope to stage this epic run every second year. Starting at Fletcher Bay, the ultra runners will take the Northern Coromandel Walkway down through Three Stones Bay to Waikawau Beach where they join the normal 32k Kauri Run for the remainder of their journey.

Other features at the Great Cranleigh Kauri Run include the 13k Cranleigh Team Challenge where entrants from the same organisation have their average time totalled to give a team time, the fastest of which will be the winner.
Melissa_Theuriau
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